To Binge or Not to Binge? Episode 3: “Black Mirror”

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“Black Mirror” will haunt you long after the last episode ends. Like a new-age “Twilight Zone,” this satire television series — currently available to stream on Netflix — does not have to be watched in order. In fact, you can even skip some of the episodes, and you may want to. The thriller style show takes place in the future in alternate realities with strong social commentaries.

Previous Season Recap

There are technically three seasons of the show but each season varies from three to six episodes, the first season is the shortest. When I first binge watched I didn’t even realize the seasons were changing. The runtime of each episode also varies from 44-89 minutes, with the episodes only connected by an overall black mirror theme — reflecting on the darkness of society. You can watch them all together, out of order, binge in one sitting or spread out over a few Friday movie nights.

Review

My personal favorite episode is the first one on Season three, “Nosedive,” which stars Bryce Dallas Howard. Howards’ infamous character Hilly Holbrook (of the film “The Help” in which she eats Minny’s “chocolate pie”) is the polar opposite to the “Black Mirror” role of Lacie Pound. The character is kind, sensitive and desperate to be loved. “Nosedive” takes a dark look at the possible future of social media in which people review one another — if you aren’t liked by others you have fewer “stars,” and the lower the stars the less liked you are. For instance, those with 4.8 out of 5 stars get to live at the luxury apartments (the ones Lacie Pound so desperately wants to live in) at a steep discount. I found the ending of this episode inspiring but others may see it differently.

Rating Info

Netflix has “Black Mirror” listed as TVMA. Personally, movie ratings make more sense to me so TVMA would be the equivalent to rated R, no questions asked. Each episode could have individual content trigger warnings but overall if you do not want to watch sex, nudity, profanity, violence, strong adult themes, or anything else that may be in an R or TVMA rating do not watch. Some episodes may be more on the “softer” side, but overall I think it is fair to say that none of the episodes are appropriate for children.

To Binge or Not to Binge?

If you’re curious and want to take a chance on “Black Mirror”, Season 1 Episode 1 may not be your go-to first episode. The fact that many of us continued watching after the first one is a nod to our current society all by itself. The episode, titled “The National Anthem”, takes a hard look at sensationalism and the idea “if it bleeds it leads,” a saying that gets thrown around newsrooms. I do not recommend this episode to anyone who is hypersensitive or loves pigs.

But overall, I do consider Black Mirror binge-worthy for us sick and twisted folk who find bleak social commentary worth our time.

Rating: 4/5 stars
“Black Mirror”
Available to stream on Netflix.
6 episodes, Approximately 6 hours 2 minutes.

h.vasic@dailyutahchronicle.com

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